Category: Massachusetts

St. Peter’s Fiesta, 2019

Festivals are an event on Cape Ann and one of the largest festivals in coming up from June 26 through June 30.

St. Peter’s Fiesta

The 2019 St. Peter’s Fiesta or Fiesta in Gloucester  is a 5 day event takes place June 26 through June 30. Find out more about it at St. Peter’s Fiesta.org

This 5-day annual festival is in honor of St. Peter, the patron saint of all fisherman. St. Peter’s was Jesus’ first follower and is considered the first pope of the Catholic Church. So, what is the significant of the Greasy Pole?

Greasy Pole

View of the Greasy Pole-Pavilion Beach

The Greasy Pole

This is probably one of the biggest events and draws for visitors and residents during Fiesta and the most sacred test of all is known as ‘The Greasy Pole.’ The pole sits idle most of the time on a 4-story platform on 40 feet of wood piling a few hundred yards off Pavilion Beach.  It is totem to the glory it has brought and to the people it has broken. On the Friday of St. Peter’s Fiesta, the contest begins with a courtesy round-everyone is allowed to participant in the event that wishes–not allowed to capture the flag at the end of this very greasy 45-foot telephone hanging over the water. This is not a content for the faint of heart and expect some injuries through this 3 day event during Fiesta. A must see for visitors.

Rose Carlson

Taking Aim at the Greasy Pole

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Greasy Pole Image: st.petersfiesta.org

More about Fiesta

Fiesta is more than just ‘The Greasy Pole.’ It’s a religous feast that starts nine days before the festival with a daily novena to St. Peter, the patron saint of the fisherman. The women would pray for the safe return of the fishermen and to bless them with a good fishing trip. The women also pray for peace,  the sick, and anyone in need.  Once the festival begins,  there is the blessing of the fleet, an outdoor Mass on Sunday followed by the final day of th men’s and women’s Seine boat races followed by the Greasy Pole. There are also a Kid’s pie/watermelon eating contest and other games.

St. Peter’s Fiesta 2019

Where to Stay

Beauport Hotel (the old Bird’s Eye location)
*must check out the rooftop bar
Harborview Inn  This B & B is on Stacey blvd and directly across from the harbor. It offers a good option to be close to everything the Gloucester has to offer.
If a stay in an old Sea Captain’s house is your taste, this one may do just the trick.
Not as close as the others, but the views are great.
Other options can be found on Booking.com

 

Go and explore what Cape Ann has to offer this summer- The beach blog of Cape Ann is coming!

 

 

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Gloucester, Massachusetts & the Cape Ann Museum by The Rose Journal 

Gloucester, Massachusetts & the Cape Ann Museum

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The holidays are over. Our roses are dormant, sound asleep for the next three months. This is the time when Angelina and I catch up on other things that we like to do, like frequent day-trips to somewhere — eclectic destinations that catch our fancy.

We recently drove to Gloucester, Massachusetts, a fishing port city on Cape Ann on  the North Shore of Massachusetts to visit the Cape Ann Museum. The 2-hour drive north was prompted by a Providence newspaper article that featured the museum and especially its extensive collection of marine art by Fitz Henry Lane. When we arrived we also discovered a rich trove of historical maritime artifacts, ship models, a restored New England lighthouse lens, and exhibits pertaining to fishing and genealogy from the Cape Ann/Gloucester area. An added bonus we hadn’t expected.

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Once in Gloucester, our GPS had us driving in circles unable to find the museum until we stopped and asked a local guy where it was. He pointed across the street to a handsome building and it was then that we spotted the tiny sign that said “Cape Ann Museum.”

The museum building is well maintained with three levels serviced by both stairs and an elevator. The Fitz Henry Lane Gallery takes up half of level 1 with Lane paintings on view along with many of his drawings. In comparison, a few pieces of Lane’s work hang in the Museum of Fine Art in Boston and a few at the Metropolitan Museum in New York but nothing like the 40 pictures in the collection at the diminutive Cape Ann.

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Lane, a Gloucester native, was a master of fine detail in his treatment of fishing and sailing vessels of the 19th century. So good was he at capturing every little detail, including the complicated rigging of 19th century schooners, that he was often hired by ship owners to paint portraits of their boats. Lane was well-known for his many paintings of Gloucester Harbor scenes, again bringing his attention to detail here as well as he did with ships.

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Lane also possessed an amazing ability to show glowing luminescence and accurate depictions of sea and sky. I especially liked the warm sunset glow of “Norman’s Woe” still radiant after 150 years. (Norman’s Woe, seen in the background of the painting, is a rocky reef 500 feet offshore of Gloucester’s outer harbor. It was the inspiration for Longfellow’s famous poem, “The Wreck of the Hesperus.”)

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A restored 13-foot Fresnel Lens from a lighthouse on Thacher’s Island is featured on Level 2 along with some fine scratch-built wooden models of sailing schooners. Our favorite was the model of the Andrea Gail, the boat made famous in “The Perfect Storm,” parts of which were filmed in Gloucester. (See photo below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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……..more at The Rose Journal on WordPress.com

 

Rainbows & Waterspouts

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Double-Rainbows Over Gloucester Harbor

I was exploring old photos and came across these two images that capture the contrast of Mother Nature. The above image is looking east out over the harbor of Gloucester Massachusetts, which is one of the towns of Cape Ann.  You can found out more about Cape Ann and it beaches by reading my previous posts. Cape Ann is often the most crowded during the summer, but fall is definitely a good time to visit the area for the fall colors, fall harvest, and apple picking.

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Waterspout forming over the Harbor

What is a waterspout? According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), waterspouts fall into two main categories; 1) tornadic or 2) fair weather waterspouts. The first often forms during a thunderstorm like the image above.  If either of these move ashore, they change from waterspout to tornado. We watched this natural phenomenon for development, but no true development occurred.

Traveling is fun and one never knows what you will see….

Enjoy…

Cape Ann and its Beaches

The third of three blogs of Cape Ann is here. The focus of this post is the beaches of Cape Ann.  I will be honest that the water here are cooler than the more popular Cape in New England –(name unmentioned—-as this is not my focus).

Beaches of Cape Ann

One of the main attractions of Cape Ann during the summer months are the beaches. One can enjoy a relaxing walk along the many ocean beaches listening to the sound of waves. The trip is worth it to take in one of these sandy beaches some of which are popular while others offer a more intimate opportunity to take in the salty air. Here is a brief description of some of beaches around Cape Ann. Hope you enjoy!

Gloucester Beaches

Stage Fort Park

This park is probably the best alternative to the next beach option as there are two beach options here. Stage Fort has plenty of room for picnics, acres–in fact, a walking trail, rocks to roam on, a ball field, bathrooms, lifeguards, and a parking lot.  Parking will be free for the residents and paid fee for visitors.  Two beaches here off a contrasting appeal for visitors and residents alike.  Half Moon and Cressy’s beaches.

Half Moon Beach

Half Moon Gloucester

Half Moon Beach

This small and rather tucked away beach sits behind the Visitors Center. It is sandy and faces Gloucester Harbor. The rocky knoll behind the beach offers a nice contrast to the park setting and a way to get out of the heat of the day, if desired. You can sit and watch the fishing boats whale watching vessels, and other ships going in and out of the harbor throughout your day at the beach. Keep in mind this is small beach and can fill up rather quickly during high season.

Cressy’s Beach

Cressy's Beach Gloucester

Cressy’s Beach

This second option in Stage Fort Park is one that a contrast to your typical beach outing. It is combination of sand and rocks. It is often under used for this reason. You can find a wonderful spot here if you are looking for a more private beach escape. Cressy’s Beach is one that is less crowded. There is no lifeguard here the last time I checked. So keep this in mind.

Summary of Stage Fork Beach Options

  • Picnic tables and picnic areas nearby
  • Parking fee: $10.00 weekdays, $15 weekends and holidays.
  • Beach surface: Half Moon is sandy, Cressy’s is a mix of sand & stones
  • Play area: Lots of playground equipment, places to run around
    The Cupboard (snack bard):  across the park via access road, 1-2 minutes walk.
  • Lifeguards are on duty 9 am – 5 pm (Half Moon ONLY) in the high beach season (Memorial Day through Labor Day).

Stacey Boulevard-Beach

Pavillion Beach

Pavilion Beach Gloucester

Pavilion Beach

As former resident, I can’t forget to mention Pavilion beach. it is ideally located near the famous “Fisherman Statue” mentioned in my first post on Cape Ann.  It is not known as a ‘visitors’ beach as much as a residents beach. Still it is good place to walk along at low tide (seen above) to enjoy the views of Gloucester Harbor. I am not one to recommend swimming here as others may do, but this is just me.

West Gloucester

Wingaersheek Beach

This is one of the two most popular beaches on Cape Ann. So, plan accordingly during high season. This is also one of my favorite of the beaches along the Cape. This beach offers a long, wide, and sandy flat area to walk. The water is less rushing and the beach is surrounded by Ipswich Bay, the Annisquam River and several sand dunes. On a clear day, you can see a view of shoreline of NH. The kids will love the shallow water that this beach offers during low tide.

Summary of Wingaersheek

  • About 1/2 mile wide
  • No picnic tables or picnic area
  • Parking fee: $25 weekdays per vehicle, $30 weekends and holidays per vehicle.
  • Low, sandy, and flat.
  • Restroom and showers available 9 am – 6 pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
  • Occasional snack bar,  lifeguards 9 am – 5 pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day)

How to get here?—sometimes this is the challenge—

Directions: Take Rte. 128 North to Exit 13. At the bottom of the ramp, turn left onto Concord St and follow for about one to 1-½ miles. You will see a traffic island with a sign saying Wingaersheek Beach. Turn right onto Atlantic Street and follow to the end. Both Concord Street and Atlantic Street are narrow and windy roads with many curves. so please drive carefully and observe the speed limits not only for your own safety but for the safety of those who may be walking along the road. As you turn onto Atlantic Street, look for the beach parking lot.

If the “lot full” sign is out, it means that the lot is at capacity and is closed to non-residents and only those with a Gloucester beach sticker can gain access to the lot.

Route 127A

Good Harbor Beach

Perhaps the one beach that everyone knows Cape Ann for and visits as it is often very crowded. Good Harbor is well worth your visit. It is a New England iconic beach with plenty of parking, but don’t let this fool you as the parking lot will fill up during high season (Memorial Day through Labor Day).

Love this beach for its location and walkability. You can spend the day here taking in the ocean breeze, waves, and salt air. Walk from your hotel near by or jump in the car early and get your spot on this beach for the day!

Directions: From the end of Route 128 (the first set of lights) turn left, then right after the shopping plaza, then left. See the beach entrance a short distance ahead on the right.

Summary of Good Harbor Beach

  • The beach itself is about 1/2 mile long
  • Picnic tables at the rear, near the concession stand only.
  • Parking fee: $25 weekdays per vehicle, $30 weekends and holidays per vehicle.
  • Restroom and showers available 9 am – 6 pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
  • Beach surface: raked clean sand-a really beautiful sprawling beach
  • Located on Rte. 127A, Thatcher Road

The other beaches along Rt. 127A including the following:

Long Beach (in Gloucester and Rockport)

This long stretch of sandy beach covers both the Gloucester and Rockport city/town lines just off Rt. 127A (Thatcher Rd). It is a another east facing beach that offers a wonderful views of the twin lighthouses sitting on Thacher’s Island.

How to find this beach entrance? Look for the ice cream stand at the fork in the road just past Good Harbor Beach and turn onto Rockport Road. Don’t expect any public parking in this area, but some small private paid parking lots.

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Thacher Island Twin Lighthouses

More information the Thacher Island can be found by visiting the:

Thacher Island Association 

Rockport Beaches

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Cape Hedge Beach 

This is more a resident beach and can be found as you drive toward Rockport along Rt. 127A. This beach that is not often found by many people is located as you turn right at the Turk’s Head Inn looking for a small parking lot for Cape Hedge Beach. You will need a seasonal sticker and parking here is extremely limited. Also, don’t expect any services.

Front Beach

This beach is a very popular Rockport area beach in the downtown area on Sandy Bay. There is most (metered) parking here. I recommend parking someplace and walking or have somebody drop you off. Of course, you could use the Park & Ride lot on Rt 127A near the Rockport Information Booth, park and pay the ridiculously small fee, and ride the trolley to the beach.

The convenience of this beach is that it is also located to the many of the villages shops, restaurants, cafes, inns, and hotels.  During high season (Memorial Day through Labor Day) lifeguards are on duty. Public restrooms are nearby.

Summary of Cape Hedge Beach, Front Beach  

  • About 200 yards of sandy beach (at low tide) for these beaches
  • No picnic tables
  • Metered parking and resident (seasonal sticker), aggressive ticketing (be ready!)
  • Beach surface is sandy — good swimming.

Back Beach 

A beach I have to mention. This one is similar to Cressy’s Beach in Gloucester as it is  combination of rocks and sands. It is often more of an ‘explorer’ area where you can watch divers while enjoying the views and sea breeze. It is not necessarily good for just diving in the water. Also, another beach that will require a seasonal sticker.

Summary of Back Beach 

  • Combination of rocky and sandy beach
  • Small picnic area
  • Resident sticker (seasonal) only
  • Beach surface is sandy (at low tide)
  • Play area: None
  • Snack Bar: None, but lots of eateries and restaurants  just a short walk or drive to the village.

Where to Stay

Gloucester

Beauport Hotel (the old Bird’s Eye location)
*must check out the rooftop bar
Harborview Inn  This B & B is on Stacey blvd and directly across from the harbor. It offers a good option to be close to everything the Gloucester has to offer.
If a stay in an old Sea Captain’s house is your taste, this one may do just the trick.
Not as close as the others, but the views are great.
Rockport 
Checking out Booking.com for other options

Check out Viator for ideas and things to do beyond the beach activities.

LivingSocial 


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I hope you enjoy your time on Cape Ann!

Iconic Cape Ann in Summer

Welcome to Cape Ann!

Summer is the best time of the year to visit this iconic part of New England. This first of three blogs begins with the city of Gloucester. I just can’t do Cape Ann justice in one blog post.

Lobsta Boat

The Fisherman’s Memorial Monument

As one drives into Cape Ann, I highly recommend a visit to the city of Gloucester and its harbor to view the many boats and ships coming in and out of Gloucester harbor. You must take a moment to stop by and pay tribute to the many fishermen who lost their lives at sea by viewing the Fisherman’s Memorial Monument or The Old Man of the Sea. This statue faces out to the Atlantic as a reminder of how dangerous this industry can be…

If you continue your walk along Stacy Boulevard, you will come across the cut bridge. This was the only entry into Gloucester prior to the A. Piatt Andrew bridge was built along Rt. 128 in 1957. Continue your walk over this small drawbridge and you will come across another memorial dedicated to the Women of the fisherman- aptly named “The Fishermen’s Wives Memorial.”

Fishermen’s Wives Memorial
(image: goodmorninggloucester)

To Learn more about the Memorials by visiting The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association (GFWA)

 

Whale Watching off Cape Ann! A Must for first time visitor!

 

There are so many activities and things to do in Gloucester. Of course, I am will not forget the other towns of Cape Ann in an upcoming post. The other Cape as I like to reference it includes: Gloucester, Essex, Manchester-by-the-sea, and Rockport. Each with their own unique New England charm. More to come on my thoughts of Cape Ann…
Where to Stay:
Beauport Hotel (the old Bird’s Eye location)
*must check out the rooftop bar
If a stay in an old Sea Captain’s house is your taste, this one may do just the trick.
Other options can be found on Booking.com
Things to Do:
-Festivals – St. Peter’s Fiesta (a must see in late June)
-Beaches:
     Stage Fort Park (Half Moon & Cressy), Pavillion Beach
     Wingaersheek (my favorite)—go early if you wish to get parking.
     Good Harbor (probably the most popular)
     Niles Beach
     Long Beach
If beaches are not your thing, you can just take in the local life of this still activity fishing community city that is still seen today as you walk along the boulevard.
If a escorted tour is of your liking, you can find one on Viator 

Viator

Don’t forget to drive over to the other side of the Harbor and check out the Artist Colony known as the Rocky Neck Art Colony.  Learn more about them by visiting their website below:
There are several festivals scheduled throughout the year on Cape Ann. A good website is the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce 
Some Great Restaurants (in Gloucester) 
The Causeway Restaurant (if you want local and fresh seafood-this is the place)
The Azorean (a taste of the Azores in Cape Ann).  Another great choice for fresh seafood and great drinks
Virgilio’s (for a quick bite)
So many options to choose from that is difficult to narrow the choices down.
I recommend exploring Main Street Gloucester as the city is very walkable.
Enjoy your adventure to Cape Ann!